Subscribe RSS
I Could Have Died on the Side of the Road

Source: Niagara Falls Review

The first person to be Tasered by Niagara Regional Police – who is now suing the service for $50,000 in a civil case – claims officers broke his cellphone while he was trying to call his lawyer and then Tasered him 10 to 15 times after pulling him from a vehicle on Lundy’s Lane five years ago.

“I was in shock. I feared for my life. I feel I could have died on the side of that road,” Michael Parsons, testified Tuesday in Superior Court of Justice.

The incident occurred on the evening of Dec. 18, 2003 on Lundy’s Lane in Niagara Falls.

Parsons, 30, who is now in university in British Columbia, alleges police beat him and used excessive force while dealing with him that night.

Back in 2003, Parsons was working construction and also at a restaurant and bar on Merritt Street in St. Catharines.

Parsons said he has been pulled over and given tickets numerous times and had dealings with police officers prior to this incident.

On the night in question, Parsons was a passenger in a Jeep that was being driven by his ex-wife. As they approached Lundy’s Lane, Parsons said he noticed four police cruisers on both sides of the road. As they got closer, he recognized one of the officers and yelled out, “Hey, baby!”

A short distance away, their vehicle was pulled over by police. Parsons said one officer approached the driver’s side while two others approached his side of the Jeep.

Parsons said he rolled down the window halfway and heard one of the officers told him he was under arrest. He said he was never told the reason for his arrest.

He testified that when he tried to use his cellphone to call his lawyer, Brenda Sandulak, one of the officers grabbed his flip-open cellphone and broke it in two.

Parsons said another officer opened the door and put him in a choke hold from behind. They ended up in a ditch near the side of the road, one officer behind him and one on each side.

Parsons, who is being represented by Niagara Falls lawyer Margaret Hoy, said he was Tasered in a number of places including the scrotum, back, buttock and near his wrists after the handcuffs had been put on him.

“I couldn’t move,” said Parsons, noting police may have been using more than one Taser because it felt like there were two points of contact.

He described the pain as burning, saying he felt like he was on fire and the shock made his entire body jump.

Parsons maintained he was never told why he was being arrested until they were back at the police station. He was charged with assault police and resisting arrest.

He explained the “Hey, baby” comment he had made after recognizing one of the officers related to something that had happened inside a St. Catharines bar a few months earlier.

In that earlier incident, a group of police officers were inside the bar and had told him he should buy them a drink because he was making lots of money. Parsons said a girl who knew the officers came up to him and said “Hey, baby,” apparently believing he might be one of them.

One of those officers didn’t like what had taken place.

Parsons said when he passed the police officers on the side of Lundy’s Lane that night, he was just calling the one police officer the same thing the girl had called him inside the bar.

Lawyer Brenda Sandulak, who handled Parsons’ case after he was arrested in 2003, told court those matters never went to trial because the Crown withdrew the charges.

Sandulak said yelling a comment out the window at a police officer while driving by isn’t a smart thing to do. But it isn’t illegal, either.

Dr. Brian Dalgleish, who treated Parsons at Greater Niagara General Hospital, said he noticed three areas where a Taser might have been used -the scrotum, left hip, and left buttock. There was also bruising to the neck area. The injuries did not appear serious.

Also, chiropractor Dr. Alan Loon testified he saw Parsons on a number of occasions in 2004 and treated him for pain and stiffness in his lower back and neck.

The trial continues today.

Category: Local News Add to: Share
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>